CARE Microgrants: Round 2

Community Projects, hUManities Blog

Following the success of the first round of the CARE Microgrant project, we joined hands again with QPOC (Queer and Trans People of Colour–Winnipeg) and made a new connection with MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art) to curate a second round.

In continuum with the motivations behind the first call, the second round of the CARE Microgrant project also provided swift financial support ($300.00) for small creative project proposals influenced by the humanities. We welcomed proposals from students and community members that explored the multiple dimensions of care, caring, and being careful. These included the (gendered and raced) labour of healthcare, the physical and/or emotional aspects of care, caring for or about a certain cause, or what it means to be careful in this moment of social distancing, for example. Projects that centred queer, critical race, and Indigenous approaches to care were prioritized. Jury members consisted of representatives from QPOC, MAWA, and the UMIH (staff, board members, and student interns).

As with the first round, we hope these heartfelt, small gestures of care meet you well. Please refer to Round 1 for more context on the beginnings and motivations behind this project.

Award Recipient Submissions:

Niamh Dooley –

During these trying times I have found more time to bead and make more art, not only creating pieces I am passionate about but for my overall well-being. Beading to me is often a therapeutic activity, a way of connecting to my maternal relatives and ancestors. Since my Kookim passed away before I started beading, it’s a way of connecting to her, looking at her designs for inspiration along with all my other relatives who bead, especially floral designs seen in their work.

This mask is created on canvas prepped with rabbit skin glue using floral beadwork with size 11 Delica beads, shell button centres and a quill leaf, one on each cheek with leaves stemming from them outward. Incorporating other elements into the mask such as elk hide leaves, elk hide straps, and sinew edging the mask to accompany the beadwork. Along the bottom of the mask is a fringe of seed beads, using over 3000 beads to dangle. On each end of the mask is a rainbow detail with Delica beads as a representation of myself incorporated into the mask as an Indigiqueer, alongside the inspirations of my maternal family.

Chukwudubem Ukaigwe –

How High is the Moon analyzes Black civil rights in the ghost of ontology.  Filmmaker, Chukwudubem Ukaigwe takes an anthropological approach in mapping Pan-African Black resistance, drawing and analyzing parallels between history and present realities, and also speculating future relationships between race, class, and ideological groupings. Music is the bedrock and spine of this film; shaping the narrative, and creating push and pulls, therefore building a progression of tension throughout the film. The film is composed of manipulated videos from archival sources, which are tailored gently with scripted roles/ filmed scenes that were written and directed by the artist.

This film leans heavily on a literary Catharsis. Parts of the Monologues and dialogues from this film (written by Chukwudubem Ukaigwe), were chopped up, reconstructed, and stitched into a poem, which was published by the Winnipeg Art Gallery with the title; ‘This Cup’. The film treats poetics as an art form that supersedes an expression of abstract emotions. It reveals the reality of living within the atmosphere of a poem.

Please see full video screen through the link below:

Ashley Au –

Golden Hour is a piece of music that brings to light the challenges in providing support and care to loved ones from a distance—especially those who struggle with anxiety and depression, which has been exacerbated by the global pandemic and the resulting periods of isolation that comes hand in hand with protecting community health.

Lyrically, the song shifts perspectives between the supporter and the loved one seeking support,

pairing a moment of crisis with a serene instrumental arrangement—a reflection of the delicate balance one must find when supporting someone through a mental health crisis from afar.

Soundcloud link courtesy of the artist. Golden Hour, 2020 written and composed by Ashley Au:

Clea August –

Bipolar is a very tricky thing. No one knows why it happens or why meds work, or don’t work.

Bipolar is a storyteller, a trickster; weaving truths and lies so seamlessly until all you see is the beautiful tapestry and none of the blood and bone from which it’s made. All the pain and screaming and fear, so nicely tied up, stitch by stitch. Bipolar is a master weaver, hiding each loose thread, each missed stitch with careful attention. On one pole, you feel thick and slow, every movement, every moment is weighted and dull and too big to fight. Bipolar tells you ‘Hang on! Hang on! This is the price!’ And you know, deep down, you know it’s right, because the other side, oh the other side is bright! Your rightful place as a god awaits there.

And Bipolar weaves the story of your ‘God hood’; word by word, sentence by sentence it winds the tale of things to come, if you have the strength to endure.

No sleep, no food, no sadness, no hate. A perfect being awaits you, full of joy and thought. A new bright God to be worshipped by all, and they will worship oh yes. They will offer up gifts and sacrifices, if you can just hang on. If you can weave a story long enough to get to the other side and you hang on and you wait, and you hide every faulty thread, to be born again and again and again. You will hear every lie and every horrible truth and live as you were. In the light and joy of unending happiness, you are watching your old life burn away. That small and sad mortal thing becomes ash as you become what you should always be. “Yes, Yes!”, Bipolar says, “Remember who you really are! You are a goddess and the earth shudders when you wake!”.

Until then you sleep, you function, you go through the motions of humanity, always waiting, always.

Kay –


as my life began to slow down, I found solace in the energy that has always lived inside of me: to me being two spirit is one of my greatest gifts – I care for the fire inside of me, the way I do the water. my greatest contribution to this life, will be the life I make when the time comes. 

Self-care is community care: take this time to heal yourself, to love yourself so you can also love the communities we are building.

In many ways my life has changed the way I think, the way I feel: everything I do now, I do for the purpose of care, whether that be care for myself, care for the community, or care for my future. 

with love, kay

Wednesday, June 17th, 2:03am

vulnerability is an act of ceremony


and resistance


writing comes with a certain amount of self-disclosure

these words tell you

the story of abuse

but also, the story of healing


to a certain extent I believe

I live my most vulnerable life-

sharing pieces of myself

everywhere I go

things I wish to not be returned


I cannot begin to tell you

the nights I’ve fallen into lust

only to wake up unsatisfied

and unseen


vulnerability is an act of ceremony

intimacy is sacred


wanting you in a way that serves the deepest parts of my soul

making me feel secure, the way picking medicine for my community does:

when I allow myself to fall fully, into me

it will be my most revolutionary ceremony,

true vulnerability, allowing myself to be known fully, and seen truly

my most radical act of resistance: will be the love I have for myself

it’s written in the sun, and the stars.

Friday, July 3, 10:14pm

walking in two worlds: my physical body here

my spirit somewhere, holding your hand.

losing you, but having you so close to my heart.

small moments, of frustration and anger

I wish you could just be here

why must I suffer to feel you

my night spent under the stars was the closest thing

to being in your arms I have felt in years,

I no longer imagine sitting on your shoulders

because you came to see me in my dream:

rubbed my back

kissed my forehead

our time together is never long, but it leaves me feeling full.

I worry that I sound crazy, talking about you

talking to you; screaming at you

how could you leave me

why don’t you visit me more

how can I get you to hold my hand

your journey to the spirit world was years ago;

that is your home now.

how lucky am I to have you come back to earth

when I am doing the most sacred things,

to rub my back when I am fasting;

to hold my hand while I am in prayer.

I would love more of you;

and when that day comes,

we will have had years of times together,

and years of time to make up for.

Saturday, August 2, 11:23am

my dearest; please know

I pray for your happiness

as I pray for my own-

the way I pray for the land we will live on together:

I often think about praying you down from the stars

and the joyous feelings I will have when I feel you in my arms;

when my body becomes your home I will know

everything I have done up until now, to heal is for you.

Recently, I have found solace in the idea that

as of now, your spirit lives in a scared place

that as I do my work, to heal

you are dancing with our ancestors

and learning the ways they love you:

when we are both ready for you to come down from the sky

you will have the hearts of

aunties you haven’t met;

and a grandma who breathes love, and strength

my dearest Nellie; you are so loved.

Tuesday, August 11, 3:14pm

it has been my connection to ceremony

that has taught me love

for the women in my life;

these connections are ones I hold dearest to my heart

sweet as berries and as fierce as fire

they have taught me many lessons

this kind of a connection makes my heart sing

being loved in a way that makes you feel so vulnerable

but so safe.

A love that’s more than a love.

These women in my life celebrate my success no matter how big or small it may seem,

praise my beauty in however it may look like

their voices empower mine – together in harmony.

we succeed as one.

when things get hard they offer a shoulder to cry on;

tell me the hard truths

and remind me of all the beauty in the world

I pray for you,

I love you.

you are my whole world

Stephanie Phillips –

I am a person of color who is often mistaken for Indigenous in Winnipeg, where I’ve lived most of my life. I have also struggled with an addiction. I never realized how racist Winnipeg is until I sought help for my addiction at the age of 24. Prior to this, my family, friends and people who met me on my path generally treated me with respect. When I decided to seek help, I was subjected to questions such as “How do you get money, if you’re not on welfare?” and, upon learning I was employed by a university professor, “Are you her nanny or are you her maid?” I was her research assistant. The racism was beyond anything I had encountered, and it was perpetrated by workers in health and social services.

Four years later, Brian Sinclair died from a treatable infection after spending 34 hours in the waiting room of the Health Sciences Centre without being seen by a doctor. Because of his race, hospital staff assumed he was drunk and “sleeping it off”, ignoring his clear need for medical care. I was furious and sad, but not surprised. Brian Sinclair died due to racism in the health care system, something I was and am familiar with. I read about his life online and was touched by his story. I read he once ran into a burning building to save the inhabitants; that his family said he carried himself with determination and dignity, despite his challenges; that he was “humble, but not a pushover”, in the words of a pastor who worked with him. I hoped to capture his spirit at peace in his portrait, to honor a man who both thought of others and respected himself.

I’d like to think that things have changed since Brian Sinclair’s death, but recent headlines show systemic racism is alive and well in Canada. I feel that until people’s attitudes change, tragedies will continue. Brian Sinclair’s cousin, Robert Sinclair, said: “It’s terrible to remember that he actually died that way. I’d like to think that he passed away teaching us all something, teaching us that as human beings, we have become so insensitive to each other.”

Here is a link to an interview with Robert Sinclair,  talking about racism in the health care system:

For those wanting to learn more about Brian Sinclair, here are some links:

Here is a link to an article about Joyce Echaquan, an Indigenous woman who died this October in a hospital in Quebec while being degraded by staff. The article also discusses racism in the health care system

Purple Haze –

Purple Haze, 2020 drag performance. Courtesy of the artist.

From the Horrors of Lady Frances; Purple Haze is a Latinx Drag Artist who started with the Sunshine Bunch four and a half years ago. Also, a co-owner of Winnipeg based Drag Nail business Accènt’aigü Nailz. She is the current reigning Miss Like That 2020! and her high energy performances always leave you wanting more! 

Drag is performative with gender expression and it infuses art, dance, musicality. It blurs the line between heteronormative ideologies and it’s a hell of a good time. This piece will explore the intersectionality of gender, drag performance and Latinx cultural identity with the help of music, choreography, and videography.

Nadya Crossman-Serb –

This painting is a representation of Métis beadwork, and the traditional waterways Métis people use to trade and live. The Red River and Assiniboine River flow with medicine plants on a black background to represent brocade bags, vests, and other Métis items of clothing. 

Carla E. Hernandez –

Written, narrated and edited by Carla E. Hernandez. Music: Paradise Jaywood. Camera Assistant: Wendy Hernandez.

Queer Fear is a short film that will take you through Carla’s 28 year journey of struggling to accept her sexual identity. After combating deep suicidal thoughts, Carla realized her mental health had been suffering for far too long and it was time to make a change. An emotional breakdown followed by a global pandemic, forced her to sit in isolation with her thoughts after years of suppressing them. Realizing now more than ever how important self care is, Carla begins a search for the answers she has been avoiding all these years. The journey to conquer queer fear for Carla wasn’t easy, but she proves that it’s not impossible.

Wendy Lee –

Wendy Lee. 2020. Image and work courtesy of the artist.

During the Covid pandemic, we are all interconnected by strands of love and life. The rainbow mask encompasses everyone, gender, race, LGBTQ community in safety. The heart is dedicated to the diligent healthcare workers that stand on the Frontlines with their gloved hands to protect and care for others. In this new reality,  we are troubled with uncertainty, but our friends, neighbours and communities have come together in kindness and compassion when it really counts. 

Thiané Diop –

Thiané Diop, 2020, Mr. Whistle Blow-Me.


By Mr. Whistle Blow-Me

With a special thank you to Dione C. Haynes for all your help and support.

These last few months have been full of everything for me: the good, the bad, the difficult, the complicated and the joyous. One of the more public ways in which this has manifested was through my creation of the hashtag #cmhrstoplying. This Instagram and Facebook-based hashtag is meant to hold the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) accountable for its anti-black racism and other forms of racism that it participates in, perpetuates and upholds. The words “stop lying” were chosen to address the CMHR’s attempt to pretend that these public calls were a surprise to them instead of long-standing concerns that some of my former colleagues and I had brought up within the institution for years and which ultimately lead to each of us leaving. 

I have taken this experience and crafted a drag number through my alter ego, Mr. Whistle Blow-Me, I specifically chose to use drag performance as a medium because of its long history of subversiveness and social commentary. My drag name acknowledges my experience as a whistle-blower while also highlighting my irreverence through humour. This piece has allowed me to reflect on my experiences at the CMHR and channel the complex web of emotions that has come with my decision to speak out publicly and hold a national institution accountable. I move from my initial excitement to experiences of being racialized, tokenized, and not fitting into institutions that I have been taught all my life to aspire to be a part of. 

The title of my piece, Mister, is directly drawn from Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. Mister is a rooster who lived at the Sweethome plantation with many of the novel’s main characters. When thinking back to the plantation, one of the Sweethome men, Paul D, describes the rooster. He says “Mister, he looked so…free.” Paul D goes on to say “Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was. But I wasn’t allowed to be and stay who I was. Even if you cooked him you’d be cooking a rooster named Mister. But wasn’t no way I’d ever be Paul D again, living or dead.” (Morrison 86). What I want to capture in this performance is how existing institutions that were not built for me or others like me, that actively are working against us and our humanity, requires us to make ourselves smaller and give up pieces of ourselves. I chose to walk away, but I am still trying to figure out what those experiences mean for me. I’m still picking up the pieces after everything. I’m not sure if I still have all the pieces of myself that matter to me.

Chanelle Lajoie –

Chanelle Lajoie. 2020.
Chanelle Lajoie. 2020.

Chanelle Lajoie (She/Her) living on Treaty 1 Territory, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

The best way I can offer care is through the making and sharing of comestibles. As an Indigi-queer person living independently, and further isolated from community and culture by Covid-19, I would like to document the consumption of a traditional meal as a practice of becoming both filled and fuelled through food as care.

Tanja Faylene Woloshen –

Tanja Faylene Woloshen
materials: aluminium screen, thread, bamboo straws, paperclips, spandex
photographer: J. Ostrowski
dancer: anonymous

As a dance artist, I have been self-teaching myself sculptural design. My work for the Make Anything Care Microgrant is research-creation for a wearable art/ costume piece with respect to a future (posthuman) nervous system. For this project, I am contemplating the interconnectivity of care.

This costume project will be part of a developing dance production exploring ecology and ecosomatics. Inspiration comes from Valla Walla; she describes: “(e)cosomatics is an emerging interdisciplinary field which connects movement education, improvisation, healing arts, psychology, ritual, performing arts, and good old-fashioned play with ecological consciousness. The practice of ecosomatics heals the separation between mind, body, and Earth by encouraging direct sensory perception of one’s body both in the natural environment and as the natural environment.”

This folds into my queer dance practice of multiple ways of being together.

Gratitude to UMIH & MAWA.

~ Tanja Faylene Woloshen

Omid Moterassed –

Omid Moterassed. 2020.

Nichol Marsch –

How to make a pumpkin pie with Nichol Marsch.

For a long time, I have been passionate about the idea of food and recipe sharing among friends and family, and the importance of self-sufficiency in preparing food. For this project I was motivated by the concepts: Cooking and baking are an activity that historically brings people together: Food can activate our memories: and the act of cooking can be therapeutic.

I hope you find this recipe valuable, and useful in your cooking journey. I encourage you to bake for yourself, swap baking with friends and family, drop a pie at a family member’s house, or find somewhere that takes food donations.

This project was made possible by the Make Anything CARE Microgrant, presented by the Institute for Humanities at the University of Manitoba, and QPOC Winnipeg, with support from MAWA.

How to Bake a Pumpkin Pie, with Nichol Marsch

Recipe and Video Tutorial (25min)

Nichols Pumpkin Pie Filling – (enough for 2 pies)

3 Cups Pumpkin Puree, 1 Can condensed milk (dairy-free substitute: Condensed coconut milk), 2 eggs (omit for vegan pie)

3/4 to 1 cup Brown sugar, 1-1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of salt.


1. Preheat oven to 400oF / 204oC

2. Combine pumpkin puree, condensed milk, eggs and sugar in a bowl and stir until combined

3. Add your spices! add some extra if you like a bit more spice.

4. Fill your pie shells(pre-made shells or make your own).

You can also use tart shells, mini pie shells, or bake the filling on its own for a nice pumpkin pudding!

5. Place the pie in the oven, cook for approximately 40 min, watch the colour of your crust should be golden brown. 

Vegan Crust

2 Cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt. 3/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, and 4-8 tablespoons cold water.

Non-Vegan Crust

5 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tsp salt, 1 pound lard or (1/2 butter, 1/2 lard), 1 tablespoon vinegar

1 egg – lightly beaten and Ice water.

Bonus Recipe: Pumpkin Muffins

½ cup butter , 1 ⅓ cup sugar, 2 eggs beaten, 1 tablespoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon Salt, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 cup pumpkin puree

¾ cup milk, and 2 ¼ cup flour.


1. Preheat oven to 300oF / 148oC

2. Cream butter and sugar, and then add eggs

3. Mix in salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices

4. Mix pumpkin into mixture

5. Add milk and flour and mix until combined.

6. Fill muffin liners ⅔ full

7. Bake at 300oF for approximately 25 min, use a toothpick to test if the muffins are done.

Now enjoy your muffins!

CARE Microgrants: Round 1

Community Projects, hUManities Blog

“I hope this email finds you well” was once a quotidian greeting. It was quickly overlooked, a protocol to indicate courtesy before attending to the predictable, routine orders of the day– going to work, school, meetings and such. Now, “I hope this email finds you well” is often followed by “in these strange times” or some other phrase indicating the anxiety we collectively feel.

The CARE Microgrant project conducted in collaboration with QPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color–Winnipeg) came about as a means to address collective feelings of isolation, frustration, and loneliness our communities felt in the early stages of Covid lockdown. Routine, daily activities as we knew them shifted and very quickly the pandemic lead to the loss of jobs, livelihoods and connections with people. This project was executed to support, in a small way, the artistic expression of students and community members so that they could reflect upon, work through and contribute to this moment. As a public humanities endeavour, this project aimed to showcase the creative research activities of our communities that exist beyond the classroom and the campus. We provided swift financial support ($300.00) for small creative project proposals influenced by the humanities. Jury members consisted of representatives from QPOC and UMIH staff, board members, and undergraduate student interns.

We reached out to students and community members and asked them to contemplate the multiple layers of “care”: care for ourselves, caring about those around us and our environment, being careful and considerate. Through two rounds of funding in the spring and summer of 2020, we received stunning and heartfelt projects, diverse in medium and subject matter, that addressed themes relating to place, culture, mental health, love, and queerness. In solidarity with our community partners, we have highlighted QTBIPOC perspectives and stories that focus on exploring gender, race and Indigenous knowledge. A third round has been curated with MAWA taking the helm in the fall of 2020.

This project also fostered an avenue for research, collaboration and learning from and alongside other humanities and arts institutes. We owe gratitude to the Shelter projects at the Center for Humanities and the Arts (University of Colorado, Boulder) and the Wilson Centre for Humanities and Arts (University of Georgia), and Forecast Public Art (St. Paul, MN) for serving as points of reference and inspiration.

We hope indeed that these projects find you well and resonate with you wherever you are–sharing, connecting and virtually being with us from the scroll-through of a digital device.

Award Recipients Round 1 :

Linda Diffey

My project is a reflection of what it has meant to experience the impacts of self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic with my mother, a First Nations elder who lives with me.   Sheltering in place with her has provided an opportunity to learn about her experiences with quarantine as a child on the reserve, and to hear her reflections on health care as one of the first First Nations nurses trained in Manitoba.  At the same time, I am working on my doctoral thesis, which focuses on racism and health education.  I have recently taken up beadwork as a means of reconnecting to my culture, and also as a way of coping with the difficult content of my thesis and the challenges of dealing with the pandemic.  This project is a convergence between oral history, Indigenous resurgence, and the shared experience of my mother and I as we learned to deal with the many lost connections that have emerged as a result of COVID-19.  

For this project, I translated the stories, experiences, and lessons from the time spent with my mother in isolation into a beaded art piece.  The piece is informed by the Indigenous traditions of storytelling and grounded in an Indigenous worldview.  Just as the stories depicted represent both historic and contemporary experiences, the beaded work draws from both traditional and contemporary forms of beadwork in its design.

The form I chose for this piece is a kaleidocycle, comprised of six tetrahedra that are connected in a ring that can be twisted inwards and outwards to expose the different faces of the tetrahedra.  I used the different faces to depict the four stories/themes, and these are interconnected on the kaleidocycle to form a complete visual narrative.

Adriana Alarcon

Adriana Alarcón is an artist living on Treaty 1 territory. A first-generation immigrant from Guatemala of complex identities. Alarcón is Latinx, cis-gender, queer and living with a disability. As a Mestiza woman, she recognizes Maya K’ekchi’ and Spanish ancestry (though no direct claim to the Indigenous community). These identities guide her work that explores dialectics and examines coexisting contradictions in everyday life. Adriana incorporates cultural craft traditions and ancestral knowledge with contemporary narratives using fibre crafts, such as knitting, crochet, embroidery, beading and weaving. Alarcón has a bachelor’s degree from York University in Cultural Studies. She has combined her art practice with arts administration in Toronto and Winnipeg working at artist-run centres such as Space, CARFAC Ontario, Craft Action TO and MAWA. 

Azka Ahmed

Today, a short film by Azka Ahmed.
Azka (she/they) is a queer first-generation South-Asian interdisciplinary artist. Their practice explores concepts of healing, identity, and diaspora through evocative mediums such as film and spoken word. She has been published twice with the Poetry Institute of Canada and has represented Manitoba at the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam. Azka has performed at Brandon Festival of the Arts, UMCRAFT’s Slamming the Patriarchy Poetry Slam and had their work on display at the University of Manitoba’s Gallery of Student Art. Azka is a strong believer in the importance of practising vulnerability and continuous compassion, she hopes that their work inspires others to form deeper, more meaningful connections with themselves and those around them.
Project description:
“Today” follows an individual trying to navigate their day amidst the constant media reminders of the present state of the world. This film touches on how performing small actions to care for oneself can help alleviate these feelings. “Today” explores mental health through feelings of stress, paranoia, and anxiety brought upon by the overwhelming day-to-day reality we are living in while touching on topics such as the impact of media consumption, self-care, mindfulness, and checking in with yourself and those around you. “Today” brings hope for a better tomorrow.

Bonique Dawiskiba

How old were you (when White Supremacy first touched you?)

White Supremacy greets me at the front door every Sunday,
inviting me in,
reminding me how big I am for a girl my age,
“but black girls are just bigger I guess,”
sighing, bringing me something to eat. (five)
White Supremacy touches my hair,
strange fingers twirl around my curls,
reminding me how much money women pay for hair like mine,
reminding me how grown up I look for a girl my age,
reminding me how “other girls don’t usually like stuff like this, but
it’s different, you’re black.” (seven)
White Supremacy is 4 years older than me, but wants me anyways;
takes me to steal slurpees and candy, then
takes me into the basement, turns the lights down low
and reminds me how seductive Power really is. (eight)

As a Black/mixed Lesbian Woman living in Treaty One territory
Winnipeg MB, I’ve used the visual art of collage, and a quotation from
Audre Lorde’s biomythography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, to explore
the harm and lasting imprint White Supremacy/Power inflicts.
As COVID 19 forced social isolation, it also forced a period of self-
The healing and care that bolsters and is borne of intensive
is powerful and becomes the healing and care that fuels confronting
the parts of us White Supremacy/Power has touched.
When did someone first touch your body, your mind, your heart, your
hopes and dreams, with the seductive lies and painful reality of White
When, as a BIPOC person, were you told you weren’t enough and less than
and harmed for that? When, and why, as a non BIPOC person, did you feel
enough power and right over harming BIPOC people and culture?  

Ominous Whisperer

The Shadows of Eurocentric Beauty Standards by Ominous Whisperer:

Where do I start in the unfairness of standards
of beauty so lost in unparalleled graveyards
Where ghosts are kings and their paleness pandered buried so deep in the desired guards
Society dreams for me to stay still
As the knife stabs me for the kill
I am dead inside but I still want love
Wherever will I go to find such difficult voyage
I’ve drowned from internal oceans lost from my dove
My features engulfed by the Dead Sea Carnage
I am way too salty for even the saltiest of seas
There in the murkiest of waters can you see my reflection And of the people fleeing from the wide-nosed bees Because the ghosts put me in my own little section Where I am as invisible as a brown bat by bark
And extremity blocks me from masculine right
I am to never leave my mark
To a point where I just want to bite
At these western beauty standards
My fiery burns like the devil’s might

But to my angel light I cry through darkness
As I have this gay dating app
Where I loved myself and knew my beauty
But swift currents changed the melody
Block after block as I revealed my fragile face Where the door would slam to an innocent kitten Where no one wanted my trace

I decided to try wearing someone else’s mitten
The stench enveloping and blinding like mace
Of the standard of beauty in the gay community White, fit, young, tall, and sharp Eurocentric features And to give him pain streaking justice,

Message after message after message after message,
after message,
after message, after message, after message, after message, after message, after message, after message.

My creative project is a poem I made as a Queer Person of Color myself. It showcases in poetic language the inequality I face as a minority in the gay community. It is about my personal experience as a gay Asian man looking for love in a community that sees white males as the ideal gay standard.

In my poem, it tells a story of the use of a specific gay dating app. I traded my phone with my gay white friend who is just average in attractiveness. Despite this, I noticed that he got 70 times more people wanting to talk with him.

I wanted to tell this story to acknowledge what Eurocentric beauty standards generate in “preferences” upon the LGBTQ+ community, especially the gay community. I want to show how it affected my mental health, and how I strive to overcome that and how I do my best to find love against the barriers and struggles QPOC have to go through.

Kai Sparrow

I have taken the theme of care under the lens of caring for our hearts, our inner child, our families and our communities, which to me extends to seeking justice. This body of work encompasses attributes needed to face ourselves, and others to seek the justice we deserve and to find ways to love ourselves in a harsh, unyielding atmosphere of racism and bigotry.

Feather Talia –

Feather Talia
Tightrope Cover
(original by Kelly Clarkson)

This song selection and drag video is an attempt to show my emotions for the people that I care so dearly for. Tightrope, by Kelly Clarkson, is a heartfelt ballad that reminds us to face our challenges, especially when we are so far away from one another. We are all facing challenges with Covid-19, as well as our own personal battles and it’s easy to forget to care for one another or ourselves. 

With this song and video pairing, I wanted to visualize how you can care for your peers, family, and friends, but also ask if someone can care too much? Can we all love each other forever? This is a question I find myself contemplating almost daily, and I wanted to explore that idea by pushing my boundaries of performance through song and video. 

Nicole Jowett

Connect. Disconnect.

By Nicole Jowett
With quote from adrienne maree brown

Near the beginning
You said this was a moment
“to slow and deepen my pace and relationships outside the paradigm of desire”

And so it was

Choosing friends over lovers connection over touch

A new vision of intimacy Emerges

It wasn’t always like this

Repression tying trauma tight within the body Numbness and disconnect
From too much time spent
Not embodying the truth

But I’ve known progress

Healing through understanding and connection Breaking open
Shaking loose
Those things we hold

We hold together

Bike ride chat
Phone chat
In a park chat
Down by the river chat

So many walks

Hangout in the backyard Takeout in the backyard Dance out in the backyard

So many walks

And on those days in the pit You were there on every level When I needed that falling apart To let go

So fuck detachment

We will root by rooting
We will care by caring
We will connect by connecting Our full selves

This poem looks at deep friendship as a way of caring and connecting in a time of uncertainty and isolation. It also considers the impact of queer repression and the development of open and intimate friendships as a way of healing from that trauma.

My thinking during the pandemic has been greatly informed by the work of social justice facilitator Adrienne Maree Brown, particularly her book Pleasure Activism. The book looks at art, creation, and pleasure (including deep friendship) as key but often sidelined ways to sustain social justice work, especially for communities who experience ongoing oppression. Her work is based on a lineage and gathering of ideas that emphasize the voices of queer women/non-binary folks of colour. As a white settler and a queer woman, I recognize there are elements of her work that resonate with me deeply and aspects that are not part of my lived experience. I am grateful to be able to engage with these ideas.